A Seller's Guide To Kehinde Wiley

Head and shoulders of a young sitter, looking down towards the camera. The backdrop is adorned with intricate green branches and blossoms.Image © Phillips / Kid Ike © Kehinde Wiley 2006
Joe Syer

Joe Syer, Co-Founder & Specialist[email protected]

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Known for his vibrant portraits crafted with incisive cultural commentaries, Kehinde Wiley has become a figurehead in the realm of fine art. His artworks don't just hang in galleries or museums; they hold conversations with viewers, challenging societal norms and sparking dialogues about race, identity, and power. For those interested in collecting Wiley’s work, it's crucial to stay informed and in tune with market trends. From understanding how much Wiley prints sell for to art authentication and appraisal, our seller’s guide takes a deep dive into the finer details of the selling process, tailored to provide you with the knowledge and insights you need as a Kehinde Wiley collector.

How Much Do Kehinde Wiley Prints Sell For?

If you’ve already begun collecting Wiley prints, you’re ahead: prints and editions are highly sought after in the contemporary art market. Their value varies depending on a myriad of factors, such as edition size, print type, and the intricacy of the work. Generally, his limited editions can range anywhere from the thousands to tens of thousands, and It's not uncommon to see some of his rarer prints fetching higher prices at auction.

Over the years, Wiley's market has shown considerable growth and resilience. Major auction houses like Sotheby's and Phillips have witnessed competitive bidding for Wiley's works, an indication of the artist's broad appeal and the strong demand for his art. In previous Phillips auctions, most of Wiley’s work fetched hammer prices well above their estimates. Kid Ike (2006) is one example, a Printer's Proof, which sold for £9,130 (fess included) against a £2,174 high estimate in October 2021 at Phillips New York.

Growing trends in Wiley's Market trends demonstrate the capacity for Wiley prints to steadily appreciate in value, particularly following his presidential portrait of Barack Obama in 2018, which significantly increased his visibility and acclaim. This spike in demand has trickled into the market for his prints and editions, making them a promising investment avenue.

Art collectors and investors are drawn to Wiley's work not only for the potential returns, but also for their cultural and artistic significance. As a passion asset, art sales should not solely be guided by monetary considerations but should take subjective appreciation into account.  For works that resonate with you as a collector—be it on a thematic, visual or cultural appeal—selling may be a difficult decision. Fortunately, the health of Wiley’s market means that collectors shouldn’t need to make snap decisions.

Of course, the pricing and valuation of Wiley prints and editions are highly nuanced, with the final selling price influenced by several variables. It is always recommended to consult with an experienced art dealer or broker, such as MyArtBroker, to gain a more precise understanding of the value of your specific Wiley artwork.

A young man looks directly at the viewer; he wears a lime green hoodie and has his hands in his pockets. The brown wallpaper behind him is adorned with an intricate, regal pattern. Image © Kehinde Wiley Studio / Passing / Posing #12 © Kehinde Wiley 2002

How Do You Authenticate a Kehinde Wiley Print?

Authentication is a critical step in the selling process of any artwork, and Kehinde Wiley's prints are no exception. One of the first things to look for is the artist's signature. Wiley typically signs his prints, which can often be found at the bottom of the work. Coupled with this, there should be an edition number indicating its place within the limited series.

Certain prints are classified as artist proofs, typically distinguished by the abbreviation 'AP'. These proofs are editioned proof prints not included in the count of the main edition, further enhancing their rarity and value.

In addition, a certificate of authenticity (COA) is a crucial document to validate your print's authenticity. This certificate usually contains specific details about the artwork and is often signed by the artist or the representing gallery.

Provenance, the history of ownership, is another important factor in authenticating Wiley's prints. In the case of Wiley, most prints have only arrived on the market within the past 10 years, so, likely, provenance will not be extensive and traceable with invoices. Solid provenance not only provides a lineage of ownership but also helps establish the artwork's legitimacy.

A young man poses wearing a pale pink durag, a dark purple shirt and a pink hoodie. His jewellery is a silver chain with a scorpion charm and a simple silver bangle, as well as stud earrings. The background behind him is blue and floral, with continuous branches.Image © Kehinde Wiley Studio / Tomb Of Pope Alexander VII Study I © Kehinde Wiley 2008

Has Your Kehinde Wiley Print Been Kept In Good Condition?

The condition of your Wiley print is a crucial factor influencing its value and desirability in the prints and edition market. Prospective buyers pay keen attention to the artwork's state, with prints in excellent condition typically fetching higher prices.

First, look for any noticeable discolouration, stains, or foxing (brown-ish age spots) that may have occurred due to unfavourable conditions. Next, check for tears, creases, or folds, which can significantly devalue the artwork. You should also assess the margins and edges of the print, which are prone to damage or wear over time. And lastly, if your print is framed, ensure the frame has preserved the print well without causing any damage.

Faults and defects can drastically reduce the value of the print. Keeping your artwork in an environment with controlled temperature and humidity, away from direct sunlight, will help maintain its condition and protect your investment. A well-preserved Wiley print can is likely to be a prized asset in the contemporary art market.

A man poses with his hand on his chest and the other at an angle in a regal poise; he wears a large puffer jacket, a hoodie, and jeans. In the blue background, ornate spirals twist around him.Image © Sotheby’s / Passing/Posing © Kehinde Wiley 2003

When Is the Best Time to Sell My Kehinde Wiley Print?

The appeal of Kehinde Wiley is broad enough that you can expect to garner interest around your print relatively easily. But with a good understanding of the art market's dynamics and careful consideration of certain factors, you can strategically enhance your prospects of achieving a favourable sale.

The demand for Wiley's prints and editions typically heightens during certain periods. Major exhibitions featuring Wiley's work, important acquisitions by prestigious institutions, or increased media coverage often pique collectors' interest, leading to increased demand and potentially higher prices for his works. For example, following the unveiling of Wiley's portrait of Barack Obama, the demand for his works saw a substantial increase.

Historically, notable sales have occurred during New York and London's contemporary art auctions. One such instance was the sale of Wiley's "Passing/Posing" print at Sotheby's last year, which fetched a price of £5,434—above its estimated value of £ 2,588 - £ 4,313. This sale coincided with a period of heightened interest in Wiley's work, given that he was exhibiting at London’s National Gallery, and the Musée d’Orsay in Paris.

That said, the 'perfect' time to sell is a relative concept and can vary based on individual circumstances. The market for Wiley's prints is robust and dynamic, with the potential for high returns. Yet, it's crucial to remember that art investment involves an element of unpredictability. It's advisable to work with a seasoned broker who can guide you through the complexities of the art market and help identify the opportune moment to sell.

A painted mugshot of a young man. Wearing a white vest and beaded necklaces, he looks directly at the camera. A line of numbers, presumably a case number, is underneath his portrait.Image © The Sender Collection New York Via NPR / Mugshot Study © Kehinde Wiley 2006

Where Can I Sell My Kehinde Wiley Print?

Wiley collectors looking to sell printed editions have several different options. Your choice will depend on your personal preferences, the specifics of your artwork, and your objectives as a seller. Every sale is different, so it may be worth considering a sales avenue that you haven’t tried before.

Selling A Kehinde Wiley Via Auction House

Auction houses like Sotheby's and Phillips have an extensive recent history of selling Wiley's prints. Certainly, selling through an auction house can bring your artwork to a broad audience of seasoned collectors and investors. The buzz and bustle of a competitive bidding environment can also potentially drive the price above expectations, which is great news for sellers.

Nonetheless, selling via auction isn't without its drawbacks. The process can be lengthy, and the seller fees, up to 25% of the hammer price, are typically higher than other selling avenues.

Selling A Kehinde Wiley Via Broker

Art brokers act as intermediaries, connecting sellers with potential buyers. A knowledgeable broker understands the nuances of the market, providing advice on pricing, timing, and marketing your print. The commission fees are usually lower than auction houses, and the selling process can be quicker and more discreet. However, the success of this avenue largely depends on the broker's network and expertise in the art market.

Selling A Kehinde Wiley Via Online Marketplace

In the digital age, online art marketplaces such as MyArtBroker have become increasingly popular. The Hiscox Online Art Trade Report 2023, reported that in 2019, there was a 29% increase in millennial art collectors buying art online. With many reputable platforms now in operation, collectors can be confident about working with online marketplaces—as long as you do your research.

The flip side of online marketplaces is the competition, with numerous artworks vying for potential buyers' attention. Nonetheless, a well-timed sale with a strategic pricing strategy can yield positive results.

Each selling avenue has its strengths and potential challenges, and what’s right for one artwork may not be right for another. The best bet is to consider seeking professional advice before selling so that you can weigh up your options and make an informed decision.

 Head and shoulders of a young man with his face turned away from the camera, wearing a t-shirt and hoodie. Blue and pink flowers run through the background and into the foreground below the subject’s neck.Image © Kehinde Wiley Shop / Dimietrus Study © Kehinde Wiley 2021

Why Sell Your Kehinde Wiley With MyArtBroker?

Platforms like MyArtBroker offer a convenient and efficient way to reach a global audience. MyArtBroker not only provides you with a dedicated broker but also leverages its extensive network to connect sellers with potential buyers. With our disruptive technology, we also provide our collectors with access to the only dedicated print market index in the world, ensuring you have all the insights you need to get the best deal.

A Dedicated Broker

When you decide to sell your Kehinde Wiley print with MyArtBroker, you are not just selling through a platform but gaining a partner in the selling journey. You'll be assigned a dedicated broker who understands the nuances of the Wiley market and offers personalised advice to ensure you make the most of your sale. This professional guidance comes without any extra charges or commissions, a unique offering that makes the selling experience seamless, transparent and personal.

Our Network

With MyArtBroker, you tap into our extensive network of collectors and investors in the print marketplace, bolstered by the Trading Floor tool. This tool provides real-time data on the demand and supply within our network, offering invaluable insights to guide your selling strategy. With the Trading Floor at your disposal, you'll have a clear view of the market dynamics, aiding in informed decision-making and strategic pricing of your artwork.

A portrait of a young woman wearing a high-necked black top with shoulder cutouts. She looks down at the camera slightly, pictured against a graphic floral background.Image © Kehinde Wiley Studio / Kancou Diaovno © Kehinde Wiley 2012

Kehinde Wiley Collection Management with MyPortfolio

The MyPortfolio tool is a game-changer for collectors looking to navigate the Wiley market. This is MyArtBroker’s signature portfolio management platform for art collectors, which also features the only dedicated print market index in the world, powered by repeat sales regression technology. This allows investors to access insights on the estimated value and investment potential of thousands of prints, based on real-time international art auction results as well as data from public and private market histories. For a collector of Kehinde Wiley prints, MyPortfolio helps identify trends and discover opportunities, making it a crucial tool for the well-informed seller.

In the interest of keeping the market as accessible and transparent as possible, MyPortfolio is a free-to-use tool for anyone interested in collecting prints and editions. You can read the complete guide to using it here.

Choosing to sell your Wiley print with MyArtBroker brings together the best of professional guidance, extensive network access, and disruptive market tools. We strive to provide a selling experience that is informed, efficient, and tailored to your needs, offering you the best chance of success in the vibrant Wiley print market.